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< Contents ERCIM News No. 52, January 2003
Special Theme: Embedded Systems

EUDEMES: Component-Based Development Methods for Small-Size Embedded Systems

by Nicolas Guelfi, Aloyse Schoos, Gérard Sébastien and François Terrier

EUDEMES is a recent joint France-Luxembourg project in the field of embedded systems engineering. The first targeted systems are small embedded systems developed by the Luxembourg company IEE S.A. for the control of airbags through sensors or infrared cameras.

The main objective of this project is to study how component-based development methods can be applied to small-size embedded systems engineering. These approaches are most often applied to large and complex embedded systems, but their principles should be applicable to small systems in order to provide a high degree of maintainability and to foster product family development. These approaches are of real interest when dealing with software processes in which the specification phase is often subject to iterations. An important issue of the project is also the development of a component model that could be integrated into an existing system with a minimum of effort for interfacing and validation. The formalism retained for this study is the Unified Modelling Language (UML).

The first phase of EUDEMES will be to transfer the ACCORD/UML development method (mainly developed by the project AIT-WOODDES, to the project partner IEE. This first phase should:

  • provide an impact study of CBSE (Component-Based Software Engineering) on IEE development processes
  • state a list of research subjects to be addressed and mastered in order to provide new solutions in the field of CBSE as applied to small-size embedded systems.

In the initial stage of the project, the concept of components, and particularly the description of their dynamic behaviour, will be identified and formalised in UML. This provides the basis for defining techniques and constraints, which will ensure the compatibility of the operation properties of the components.

The concept of 'component' clearly seems necessary for the development of software systems that are less expensive, more reliable and more evolutionary. In this context, research is directed towards the improvement of object-oriented technologies, in particular through the use of the standard formalism UML.

A sticking point identified by the research community is the management of the dynamics of the components and their interaction with other system elements. In this context, it is essential to provide tools which make it possible to model the components' dynamic behaviour in a synthetic yet precise way. For that, the principle is to enhance and formalise the concept of 'quality of service', which is already well established in telecommunications research. Its adaptation to the constraints of other embedded systems fields, such as the automotive industry, is an essential first step. A further point is the capacity to validate the assembly of components starting from properties attached to each component, the assembling topology, and dynamic properties imposed on the overall system.

EUMEDES is a joint project of LIASIT (Luxembourg International Advanced Studies in Information Technologies), IEE Luxembourg (International Electronics & Engineering S.A), CEA-LIST (Laboratory for System and Technologies Integration of the French Atomic Energy Agency) and the French NINST (National Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Techniques). The project started in January 2003 and is of four years' duration. The project is within the scope of work carried out at the LLSP (Laboratory on Software for Process Safety) at the Laboratory for System and Technologies Integration of the French Atomic Energy Agency (CEA-LIST) on the reliability of embedded systems, with the main concern being the integration of new development techniques by components. The work will be based on the assets of two CEA research projects: modelling of the dynamic behaviour of real-time systems (ACCORD) and formal specifications analysis based on automata (AGATHA).

The results will make it possible to develop the work that has been carried out by CEA over a number of years in object-oriented modelling, UML, real-time systems such as those relating to formal models analysis, and the automatic generation of tests starting from industrial formalisms (such as SDL, statecharts, UML etc). This work will enhance the current proposals of the ECA-LLSP, which are in progress at OMG, the international organisation dealing with the standardisation of object-oriented technologies, which is in charge of CORBA and UML.

The developments will be carried out such that they can be integrated into the software engineering tools that support the ACCORD platform. This approach will facilitate the evaluation within an industrial framework of the suggested solutions and, in the long term, their industrial transfer.

This project will cooperate with international partners, in particular with:

Please contact:
Nicolas Guelfi, Luxembourg University of Applied Sciences (FNR)
Tel: +352 420 101 251
E-mail :

Aloyse Schoos, International Electronics & Engineering S.A, Luxembourg

Gérard Sébastien, François Terrier National Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Techniques (CEA), France